The Guilty and Complicit alum Arsher Ali is set to co-star opposite Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) in ITV’s three-part Arthur Conan Doyle drama Arthur & George, TVWise has learned.
Arthur & George is set in 1903 and tells the story of Conan Doyle (Martin Clunes) who, following the death of his first wife, recaptures his zest for life by attempting to overturn a miscarriage of justice which saw George Edalji sentenced to seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters, a series of offences which have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings. Released three years into his sentence, George maintains his innocence and finds he is unable to return to his career “until the taint is washed from his name” – a mission Conan Doyle is more than happy to accept, with the assistance of his trusted manservant Alfred ‘Woody’ Wood.
Arsher Ali will play George Edalji, the innocent man who was wrongly convicted for The Great Wyrley Rippings. Rounding out the cast is Hattie Morahan (The Bletchley Circle) as Jean Leckie, Conan Doyle’s second wife; Art Malik (Holby City) as Reverend Shapurji Edalji, George’s father; Emma Fielding (Silk) as Charlotte Edalji, George’s mother; Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey) as Woodie Wood, Conan Doyle’s manservant; and Sandra Voe (Holby City) as Mam, Conan Doyle’s mother whose insistence that he find a new pursuit after the death of his first wife leads him straight to George Edalji.
Based on the Julian Barnes novel of the same name, the three-parter was adapted for television by Silent Witness scribe Ed Whitmore. Buffalo Pictures is producing, marking the latest collaboration between ITV and the indie – who are also behind Doc Martin. Philippa Braithwaite and Trevor Hopkins are serving as the series producers, while Stuart Orme is attached to direct. Production begins next month in London and Staffordshire, with ITV eyeing a 2015 premiere.
Speaking at the time that Arthur & George was commissioned, ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November said: “Arthur & George explores what we think we know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life. It’s a fascinating insight into the man who was to become one of the most famous of his age. We’re delighted to be working with Martin and the production team at Buffalo Pictures on such a clever and complex adaptation of Julian Barnes’s acclaimed novel.”